Simulation of groundwater flow and chloride transport in the “1,200-foot” sand with scenarios to mitigate saltwater migration in the “2,000-foot” sand in the Baton Rouge area, Louisiana

Scientific Investigations Report 2015-5083
Prepared in cooperation with the Capital Area Groundwater Conservation Commission; the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Public Works and Water Resources Division; and the City of Baton Rouge and Parish of East Baton Rouge
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Groundwater withdrawals have caused saltwater to encroach into freshwater-bearing aquifers beneath Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The 10 aquifers beneath the Baton Rouge area, which includes East and West Baton Rouge Parishes, Pointe Coupee Parish, and East and West Feliciana Parishes, provided about 184.3 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) for public supply and industrial use in 2012. Groundwater withdrawals from the “1,200-foot” sand in East Baton Rouge Parish have caused water-level drawdown as large as 177 feet (ft) north of the Baton Rouge Fault and limited saltwater encroachment from south of the fault. The recently developed groundwater model for simulating transport in the “2,000-foot” sand was rediscretized to also enable transport simulation within the “1,200-foot” sand and was updated with groundwater withdrawal data through 2012. The model was recalibrated to water-level observation data through 2012 with the parameter-estimation code PEST and calibrated to observed chloride concentrations at observation wells within the “1,200-foot” sand and “2,000-foot” sand. The model is designed to evaluate strategies to control saltwater migration, including changes in the distribution of groundwater withdrawals and installation of scavenger wells to intercept saltwater before it reaches existing production wells.

Seven hypothetical scenarios predict the effects of different groundwater withdrawal options on groundwater levels and the transport of chloride within the “1,200-foot” sand and the “2,000-foot” sand during 2015–2112. The predicted water levels and concentrations for all scenarios are depicted in maps for the years 2047 and 2112. The first scenario is a base case for comparison to the six other scenarios and simulates continuation of 2012 reported groundwater withdrawals through 2112 (100 years). The second scenario that simulates increased withdrawals from industrial wells in the “1,200-foot” sand predicts that water levels will be 12–25 ft lower by 2047 and that there will be a negligible difference in chloride concentrations within the “1,200-foot” sand. The five other scenarios simulate the effects of various withdrawal schemes on water levels and chloride concentrations within the “2,000-foot” sand. Amongst these five other scenarios, three of the scenarios simulate only various withdrawal reductions, whereas the two others also incorporate withdrawals from a scavenger well that is designed to extract salty water from the base of the “2,000-foot” sand. Two alternative pumping rates (2.5 Mgal/d and 1.25 Mgal/d) are simulated in each of the scavenger-well scenarios. For the “2,000-foot” sand scenarios, comparison of the predicted effects of the scenarios is facilitated by graphs of predicted chloride concentrations through time at selected observation wells, plots of salt mass in the aquifer through time, and a summary of the predicted plume area and average concentration. In all scenarios, water levels essentially equilibrate by 2047, after 30 years of simulated constant withdrawal rates. Although predicted water-level recovery within the “2,000-foot” sand is greatest for the scenario with the greatest reduction in groundwater withdrawal from that aquifer, the scavenger-well scenarios are most effective in mitigating the future extent and concentration of the chloride plume. The simulated scavenger-well withdrawal rate has more influence on the plume area and concentration than do differences among the scenarios in industrial and public-supply withdrawal rates.

Suggested Citation

Heywood, C.E., Lovelace, J.K., and Griffith, J.M., 2015, Simulation of groundwater flow and chloride transport in the “1,200-foot” sand with scenarios to mitigate saltwater migration in the “2,000-foot” sand in the Baton Rouge area, Louisiana (ver. 1.1, September 2015): U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5083, 69 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

ISSN: 2328-031X (print)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Hydrogeology
  • Groundwater Withdrawals
  • Simulation of Groundwater Flow and Chloride Transport
  • Model Calibration
  • Simulated Groundwater Conditions
  • Limitations and Appropriate Use of the Model
  • Scenarios To Mitigate Saltwater Migration
  • Summary
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Simulation of groundwater flow and chloride transport in the “1,200-foot” sand with scenarios to mitigate saltwater migration in the “2,000-foot” sand in the Baton Rouge area, Louisiana
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2015-5083
DOI 10.3133/sir20155083
Edition Version 1.0: Originally posted July 16, 2015; Version 1.1: September 14, 2015
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Louisiana Water Science Center
Description xi, 69 p.
Country United States
State Louisiana, Mississippi
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details